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Petition seeks end of foreign meat labeled as ‘Product of U.S.A.’Petition seeks end of foreign meat labeled as ‘Product of U.S.A.’

American Grassfed Assn. and Organization for Competitive Markets seek change that would allow only U.S. domestic meat products to be labeled as "Product of the USA."

June 13, 2018

2 Min Read
Product of USA meat label on ribeye steaks
LABEL FIX COMING: USDA undertaking rulemaking to address mislabeling of meat with Product of USA label if foreign meat is used. USDA

The American Grassfed Assn. (AGA) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) requesting FSIS policy be changed to ensure only U.S. domestic meat products can be labeled “Product of U.S.A.”

The current policy allows foreign meat to be imported into the U.S. and bear the label “Product of U.S.A.” if it passes through a USDA-inspected plant. “The lack of clarity in this policy allows food companies to skirt the federal law and regulations governing labeling and leads to violations of FSIS’s own policies and regulations that clearly mandate truthfulness in labeling by prohibiting false or misleading labeling and practices,” the groups said in a statement.

Joe Maxwell, executive director of the OCM, said, “With the Congressional repeal of mandatory country of origin labeling for beef and pork products, it is imperative that when a company chooses to label its meat products that origin statement be truthful. Allowing foreign profiteers to mislabel meat products plunders the profits of U.S. farmers and ranchers at the expense of U.S. consumers. This is simply criminal.”

Hit hardest by misbranding of U.S. meat products are those U.S. farmers and ranchers who produce grassfed beef. This market opportunity has been the one bright spot in U.S. cattle production with sales nearly doubling annually. Sales of grassfed beef have grown from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million in 2016 with producers seeing as much as a 30% premium for their products.

Carrie Balkcom, executive director of AGA, said, “In the U.S., the fastest and most profitable livestock market sector is grassfed, and yet today the only ones making a profit from the growing consumer demand are foreign companies and their interests. American grassfed is a superior product, but it is not being allowed a fair opportunity in the market because of our own government policies.”

AGA and OCM said they will encourage others to write FSIS with letters of support once the comment period opens.

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